Junky windswell for the rest of the week with the next S swell on the weekend

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed Oct27)

SEQLD Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small S swell leftovers Thurs, ratty windswell into the weekend with N'ly winds
  • Directional S swell Sun/Mon favouring S facing beaches with onshore winds
  • Short range SE/ESE swell likely from Sun, persisting into Wed, stay tuned for revisions

Northern NSW Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small S swell leftovers Thurs, ratty windswell into the weekend with N'ly winds
  • Small S swell pulse possible late Sat (more likely on Mid North Coast)
  • Stronger S swell pulse Sun, holding Mon before easing
  • Short range SE/ESE swell likely from Sun, persisting into Wed, stay tuned for revisions
  • Potential ESE swell into next weekend, revisions likely


S swell peaked in NENSW yesterday with size in the 3-5 ft range, some bigger surf at S facing beaches on the Mid North Coast and generally light winds that tended to E’ly breezes in the a’noon. Plenty of leftovers this morning with SEQLD seeing a stronger S swell signal with magnets in the 3ft range, although the Sunshine Coast saw a much smaller 2ft signal. Early clean conditions have now deteriorated as E to NE winds set in. These winds will be with us for the rest of the working week. Read on for details. 

This week (Oct 25-29)

The slow moving low East of Tasmania which supplied Mon/Tues strong S swell has now dissipated, with weak high pressure moving NE into the sub-tropical Tasman Sea and a complex area of low pressure beginning to track across the WA/SA interior towards the Eastern States. Eventually the low pressure system tracks into the Tasman, and with an associated front forms a low in the active window E of Tasmania overnight Fri/early Saturday. That will see some new S swell arriving on the weekend.

For now though, the interplay between the approaching low system and high in the Northern Tasman is setting up a N’ly flow which will take us through the to end of the working week. 

Small amounts of leftover S swell supply a few stray 2-3ft sets at S facing beaches tomorrow, possibly 3ft+ at select S swell magnets NENSW , but you’ll need to get in early before N’ly winds freshen and tend NE through the a’noon. SEQLD looks much more dire with only 1 or 2ft at S swell magnets and an early onshore flow that only strengthens during the day.

Friday looks very poor with only small amounts of NE windswell on offer. Likely in the 1-2ft range. A late shift in winds from the NE to N or even NNW may supply a marginal improvement in quality if you are chasing a go out to end the working week but keep expectations low and bring a good groveller to a backbeach. It’s weak, short period windswell at best. 

This weekend (Oct 30-31)

Looks like the timing of the low evolution has been brought forwards. Models now show gales exiting Bass Strait by Fri evening or even afternoon. That is expected to produce a first flush of S swell refracting back into the coast but the timing might still be problematic for an arrival before dark on Sat. Small junky surf is expected through most of Sat with leftover NE windswell likely in the 1-2ft range and of poor quality. A S’ly change is likely through the Mid North Coast by lunchtime and Far North Coast mid afternoon. A small, troughy area just in advance of the change may stall near the QLD border so we’ll need some elasticity with respect to timing there, as the change may arrive after dark. 

Keep tabs on local S swell magnets for an arrival of the small Bass Strait S swell through the late afternoon in NENSW, although no great quality is expected with S’ly winds already entrenched.

Saturdays pulse holds into Sun morning before a stronger, longer period surf generated by gale to severe gale SW winds around the low makes landfall. That longer period pulse should be significantly bigger than the original Bass Strait pulse and lift wave heights up into the 3-5ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW, smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD. Size should build through the a’noon but with a component of SE windswell in the mix as well. The incoming high pressure ridge is enhanced by the small troughy feature in advance of it, and this should see fresh to strong  SE winds develop through Sunday. Quality won’t be high, but there will likely be enough energy from both S’ly mid period swell and short range SE swell to see some small peelers on the Outer Points into the 2-3ft range. Keep expectations pegged though, quality is likely to be low. 

Next week (Nov1) and beyond

Compared to Mon’s f/cast notes the weekend low pressure system ducks away to the SE more quickly, leading to a faster roll off in swell energy through Mon 1/11. S  swell peaks in the 3-4ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW through Mon, smaller 2-3ft at S facing beaches in SEQLD, and will ease quite quickly during the later part of the day. That will be counter-balanced to some extent by continuing short range SE/ESE energy generated by a broad wind field of SE winds through the Lower Coral Sea as a large high sets up in the Central Tasman. It’s not quite a tradewind fetch, but it should hold surf in the 2-3ft range through Mon, extending into Tuesday.

Quality will be low though with a direct onshore flow expected to endure through to the middle of next week, likely ESE in SEQLD, straight E on the North Coast, and tending ENE on the Mid North Coast.

The Southern Ocean storm track is suppressed by the blocking high in the Tasman but a system tracking well to the south late Sun/Mon, although unfavourably aligned and pushed SW away from the Tasman sea is likely to be strong enough for some long period S swell trains to bend back into the NSW coast during late Wed/early Thurs. Again, flukey source and only at the most reliable S swell magnets, likely worth a few 2ft sets through late Wed, early Thurs. Certainly not a reliable swell source.

Into the end of next week and models have been toying with low pressure near the North Island, now likely occurring in the swell shadow of the North Island. That system may drift southwards and develop a fetch either out of Cook Strait or adjacent to the North Island, late next week. That offers potential for a SE/ESE swell into next week, first weekend of November. At least one major model also suggests a NE/SW angled trough just off the NSW coast by the end of next week. 

With the current level of instability and troughiness those outcomes are subject to very low confidence. 

Check back Fri and we’ll have a look at it again as well as run a ruler over the weekend outlook.

See you then.


Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021 at 7:56pm

Surf cam shot from every break outside the Greater Sydney Region post November 1st “Freedom Day”.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021 at 8:18pm

Going too be really interesting up here.
Half the businesses in Byron are shut or running at much reduced capacity because they can't find vaccinated staff.

Watch Perrotet announce that the roadmap to allowing unvaccinated workers has been brought forwards once his mates realise there is no one to serve them in Byron Cafes.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021 at 8:53pm

Mate, no one is going to be staying in Sydney unless they’re nailed to the floor. Byron will be flooded with eager young double vaccinated casual workers within a week. It’s going to be Spring Break times New Years to the power of V Day.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021 at 8:56pm

You might be right.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 at 7:47am

If you are right it will be an interesting dynamic. Some of the recently arrived sea changers might not like what they see.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 at 8:44am

Its already crowded around here so come the 1st nov it will probably resemble this..


Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 at 9:06am

Hate this time of year! Someone hurry up and provide a decent fukin wave pool or else allow travel so I can disappear to a wave rich location.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 at 10:06am

get your flathead gear out Rocket and stop complaining.

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 at 10:28am

GFS flip flopping around on potential system near tip of NZ. Usually doesn't augur well, but we can only hope.
An indication of a pretty decent spring so far, been surfing a fair bit, and fishing not so much. I'm jonesing to get out and put a small dent in the local flatty population.
First time in a while the charts haven't had something in the med/long term to look forward to. (NB, south swells are dead to me.)